Review – Lonely Robot – Feelings Are Good – by John Wenlock-Smith

Lonely Robot is the name that John Mitchell (It BitesFrost*, Kino and Arena) uses for his solo projects, and this really is a solo album as it all performed, composed and produced by John himself with Percussive duties being handled by his Frost* colleague and drummer extraordinaire Craig Blundell. This is the fourth release to bear the Lonely Robot name, the previous three were his ‘Astronaut’ project (‘Please Come Home’, ‘The Big Dream’ and last year’s ‘Under Stars’). This time around the fare is far more Terra Firma focused and deals specifically with the events and memories that John says have made him who he is today. 

It’s been a few years since I last listened to John Mitchell’s music and I don’t know why that is really as he offers a decent brand of prog/pop crossover material that is really fine to listen to, so it’s me who has missed out really. This album will hopefully rebalance that scenario. 

‘Feelings Are Good’ is an emotionally revealing album that is not afraid to face some difficult times that John has been through and lessons he has learnt from these experiences. John refers to these moments as being the cornerstones, both good and bad, that he is back on planet Earth and has a personal lyrical axe to grind

The albums cover features closed eyes and a taped over mouth that represent how people are very guarded about their emotions. This album, however, is less guarded, far rawer and much more open about the emotions it addresses  You really must listen carefully to the songs to get the measure of what John is on about but, certainly, there are songs about broken relationships, night-time fears (spiders), small town life and grief and loss.

The album is generally Prog lite although it has touches of progressive metal in certain parts. It has excellent musical accompaniment and the sound is crisp and clear with good separation between instruments and, at all points, John’s guitar playing is very elegant and soars when the song calls for it. He has worked hard here to convey his emotions and backed it all up with powerful songs that will elicit a response from his listeners

Whether that response be anger, sadness, despair or hope is up to each person who hears this album and how this music makes them feel. No matter what your reaction may be, this is most certainly a well crafted and well written and recorded set of songs.

The songs them selves are very varied, all pretty much even tempo and most feature a guitar solo within them. John is very good at using his playing to accentuate the emotions within the songs. He also uses keyboards in a highly effective manner to further enhance these pieces and to add colours to the emotions and feelings that are so openly displayed.

His voice is strong and clear and he sings with real conviction and feeling, sometimes with force and anger, but always for the song and not just for effect. I commend John for being so open to all listeners. Doing so takes real courage and bravery, as some of these songs deal with painful moments for John, and yet he handles his emotions positively and without bitterness.

There are several key songs on this album, Crystalline (which uses the words of winter to reflect emotional coldness as a metaphor for emotional feelings), Life Is A Sine Wave, Keeping People As Pets and the brief Grief Is The Price Of Love, which tells us that there is no there is no rainbow without there first being some rain. This track is a remarkably simple but emotional song, played on acoustic guitar with a single heartfelt vocal from John. This is a stunning short piece but one that has real gravitas to it. Armour for My Heart, which is about protecting your heart and how one must do this at times, is also another emotionally bruising song.

In summary this album is a marked departure from the science fiction that occupied his last three albums and takes on a far more down to earth, closer to home theme and all that that entails. This is an excellent album that is well worthy of being heard I recommend it highly.

Released 17th July 2020

Order the CD from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/lonely-robot_feelings-are-good_cd?filter_name=Lonely%20ROBOT&filter_sub_category=true

Dyble Longdon Tribute To Judy Dyble

13th February 1949 – 12th July 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce that English singer-songwriter Judy Dyble passed away on 12th July 2020 following a long illness borne with great courage. 

Judy Dyble was one of the pioneers of the English folk rock scene in the 1960s, most notably as a founding member of Fairport Convention and vocalist with cult band Trader Horne.

Judy largely withdrew from the music scene in the early 1970s to concentrate on her family before being invited back to the Fairport fold in 1997 for the 30th anniversary reunion at Cropredy. To Judy’s great relief, her worries, ahead of the event, disappeared as ‘suddenly the years fell away.’ Further Fairport anniversary appearances reassured Judy and showed that her passion for music had remained through the years and she made three albums with Marc Swordfish, of Astralasia, as she began a revival of her music career.

This included numerous guest appearances on albums by a host of artists including, in 2017, Big Big Train. Judy went on to form a close working relationship with Big Big Train’s multi-instrumentalist frontman David Longdon. Together they will release their album Between A Breath And A Breath on 25th September 2020, with Longdon providing the music for Judy’s poignant lyrics.

Two songs from the Dyble Longdon sessions which are not included on the album, Crossbones and The Daguerreotype, will be released by English Electric in the autumn subsequent to the release of Between A Breath And A Breath as a tribute to Judy Dyble via Bandcamp. 

The lyrics for Judy’s final collection of songs are, at times, haunting and beautifully fragile, dark in tone but neither morbid nor desperate. Specifically, The Daguerreotype looks at how the Victorians dealt with death, turning it into an art form.

In accordance with Judy’s request, Crossbones and The Daguerreotype will be made available as free downloads, with listeners being encouraged to make a donation to Judy’s chosen charity, the Barley Greyhound Sanctuary (www.barleykennels.co.uk/) if they wish. 

David Longdon says: “It is with great sadness that I write to say that my dear friend Judy Dyble passed away this morning. Judy and I became friends during the writing and making of this album. Along the way, there was much laughter and joy – but also challenging moments. She was a woman of a certain age and she wrote articulately and unflinchingly about the autumn phase of her life.”

“She dealt with her illness with incredible courage and fortitude. She suspected this album was her swan song and she gave it her all. Judy reassured me that she’d had a great life. Which indeed she did. And I will miss her greatly.”

We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family, friends and many associates from her musical career at this time.

Judy’s family would like to thank her fans for their messages and good wishes on social media over the last few weeks, but at this time ask that they avoid contacting them for now as they would just like some quiet time. 

Review – Steve Howe – Love Is – by John Wenlock-Smith

‘Love Is’, is the latest solo album from Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Steve has been the guitarist in Yes since the ‘Close To The Edge’ album in 1972 and in that time his guitar mastery has entranced millions of fans with his unique style and skill on both electric and acoustic guitars, his harmony vocals also playing a supporting role to the vocals that made Yes so famous. His incisive guitar work was also heard on the original brace of albums by Asia, especially on the huge radio hit Heat of The Moment, among many others

Asia were the group he revisited on several occasions over the years but this new solo album is a little different in that it features current Yes vocalist Jon Davison on the vocal tracks which comprise five of the albums ten tracks. Jon also provides bass guitar on these same five tracks. In reality  the album is all fairly laid back with only a few songs raising the pace but, somehow, this doesn’t really matter for what we have here is a master craftsman at work, still striving to push himself forward and make new music that is worthy and has merit.

This is certainly the case here, especially on the vocal tracks as these have a real edge to them delivered by Jon Davison. These songs also have a feel of Yes to them, even without the rest of the band onboard. Certainly one can see It Ain’t Easy finding a place on a Yes album and it being a highpoint of that, just as it is here. Also worth a mention is the delicate steel guitar on the instrumental Pause For Thought, which shows Steve’s nimble finger work off to great effect, its complex playing proving quite strident, making it one of the better tracks. This playing is quite lyrical really making this a song without words and sounding very good too!

Imagination also has that same strident feel to it, being the better for it too. The song has some fine playing from Steve. While his playing here is song cantered and is not focused on showing off on fiery solo’s, the solo’s that he does deliver are brief and fleeting, aimed to fit in with the tone of the songs or the moods of the pieces. In all honesty, this plays to the strength of the songs as an overall album and it is probably best appreciated as such.

This is a good album by a great musician and, while there is nothing here that makes you go wow!, if you let the music do the talking and you are prepared to listen to it, you will find snatches of real skill and moments of beauty. Like those found in The Headlands where Steve finally lets rip  with some sublime guitar lines backed by some fine acoustic guitar. This song is possibly my favourite on the album, although I also like See Me Through and Fulcrum, both of which are really satisfying to hear. The title track Love Is A River is also a stand out moment that shouldn’t be missed.

I do feel that it would have been good to hear more of Steve really cutting loose and tearing up his fretboard but, hey, at seventy odd he probably isn’t interested in doing that any more. Instead we’ll just have to be happy to settle for the amazing craft he brings to these pieces.   

The final track, On The Balcony, has the most rock orientated feel to it, with its chugging riff and rhythm moving it along nicely. This has a good use of dynamics to it really but, overall, I feel that many fans will simply not bother to listen to this album wanting the next Yes album instead, and that is very is sad as this disc has many moods to it and a hell of a lot to commend it.

Personally, I am very glad to have heard this and wish Steve all the best for this album’s success. He has created an album that rewards the diligent listener and, on that basis, I can highly recommend it to you. If your knowledge of Steve Howe is limited to key Yes albums and the Asia material then you really should give this album a try. Steve has released a lot of albums over the years, from his first ‘Beginnings’ and ‘The Steve Howe Album’, both in the mid 1970’s, to the more recent ‘Nexus’ (with son Virgil) and the Steve Howe Trio albums and, in my honest opinion, ‘Love Is’ stands comparison with the best of those.     

Released 31st July, 2020

Pre-order the album from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/store/stevehowe

Dyble Longdon Announce Release of Between A Breath And A Breath

Dyble Longdon is a collaboration between iconic vocalist Judy Dyble (ex Fairport Convention, Trader Horne) and Big Big Train songwriter and frontman David Longdon.  They release their highly anticipated album Between A Breath And A Breath on 25th September.  The CD edition is released on English Electric, distributed by RSK, and the gatefold vinyl edition is released on the Plane Groovy label.

You can pre-order the album here: https://burningshed.com/tag/Dyble+Longdon

The album contains seven original compositions with all lyrics by Judy Dyble and music and production by David Longdon. The songs are, at times, haunting and, at others, beautifully fragile.

This collaboration with David Longdon is something Judy Dyble has hoped for for some time. “I first heard David sing with Big Big Train at King’s Place in London 2015 and immediately decided that I really wanted to sing with him someday. And here we are with a collaborative album, which I think is wonderful!” she said.

David Longdon added: “Judy asked if I would like to work with her. She sent me some great lyrics which inspired the music and over the years we’ve become good friends. Judy duetted with me on The Ivy Gate, which appears on Big Big Train’s Grimspound album. The Dyble Longdon album is a natural development on from this piece.”

Judy, who is fighting serious illness, expanded on the subject matter of the songs: “The lyrics for these songs virtually wrote themselves, with minor tweaks, as music grew around them. All were written before I was diagnosed and before the dreadful virus stamped its footprint on our world.

Quite a few of my lyrics have a touch of sadness about them but always with an optimism for the future and a desire to know what happens next. France, Whisper and Obedience tell stories suggested in conversations and Between A Breath And A Breath is sheer magic. Astrologers was a simple ‘Hmmpph! Stop it!, while Heartwashing and Tidying Away were just poems which wrote themselves.”

Between A Breath And A Breath was recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and Playpen Studios in Bristol. The album was produced by David Longdon and mixed by Patrick Phillips (Elbow, Kate Bush and Sir Paul McCartney). The artwork for the album is by Sarah Ewing.

Track listing for Between A Breath And A Breath

1. Astrologers

2. Obedience

3. Tidying Away The Pieces

4. Between A Breath And A Breath

5. France

6. Whisper

7. Heartwashing

Judy Dyble (vocals, autoharp) and David Longdon (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, piano and keyboards) are joined by Jeff Davenport (Jade Warrior, drums) and Longdon’s Big Big Train bandmates Danny Manners (double bass), Rikard Sjöblom (accordion), Rachel Hall (violin), Greg Spawton (bass guitar and Moog Taurus pedals) and Nick D’Virgilio (drums). Other featured musicians are Dave Gregory (ex-Big Big Train and XTC, guitar), Andy Lewis (Paul Weller, bass guitar), Luca Calabrese (Isildurs Bane, trumpet), Dave Sturt (Gong and Steve Hillage, fretless bass).

About Judy Dyble

Judy Dyble intended to be a librarian but got side tracked into joining many bands in their infancy, and became one of the pioneers of the English folk-rock scene in the 1960s, most notably as a founding member of Fairport Convention and vocalist with cult band Trader Horne.

Judy largely withdrew from the music scene in the early 1970s to concentrate on her family before being invited back to the Fairport fold in 1997 for the 30th anniversary reunion at Cropredy. To Judy’s great relief, her worries, ahead of the event, disappeared as ‘suddenly the years fell away.’ Further Fairport anniversary appearances reassured Judy and showed that her passion for music

had remained through the years and she made three albums with Marc Swordfish, of Astralasia, as she began a revival of her solo career.

This has included numerous guest appearances on albums by a host of artists including, in 2017, Big Big Train, with Judy forming a close working relationship with Big Big Train’s multi-instrumentalist frontman David Longdon

About David Longdon

David Longdon is best known as the vocalist for multiple award winning progressive rock band Big Big Train, whom he joined in 2009. Since then David has recorded six studio albums with Big Big Train, including 2019’s Grand Tour, and has fronted the band for a series of acclaimed live shows in the UK and Germany.

Prior to joining Big Big Train, David pursued a variety of musical avenues. These included leading Nottingham based band The Gifthorse, playing within Louis Philippe’s band alongside future Big Big Train member Danny Manners, reaching the final two in the auditions to replace Phil Collins in Genesis and performing on The Old Road, 2008’s farewell album by former IQ keyboardist Martin Orford, which brought him to the attention of Big Big Train.

An accomplished producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and arranger, David has also previously released a solo album, 2004’s Wild River.

Between A Breath And A Breath

Release Date – 25th September 2020

Pre-order link for the album:  https://burningshed.com/tag/Dyble+Longdon

Catalogue Numbers: EERCD0026 (CD); PLG084 (black vinyl); PLG084(c) (blue vinyl)

CD through English Electric, distributed by RSK

Gatefold vinyl edition on the Plane Groovy label.

Review – Frost* – Others E.P. – by John-Wenlock Smith

The ‘Others’ E.P. is basically a collection of left-over tracks from their last album (‘Falling Satellites’) released in 2016 and with a running time of 32 odd minutes.

Acting as a taster for their next album, that is due to surface in September, this 6 track EP is most welcome treat one that, once again, proves that the creative force found in the mind of Jem Godfrey never rests and that, even now, his mind is still crafting and creating aural treasure for our delectation.

The EP opens in style and with a real presence in Fathers which utilises lots of vocal tricks to enhance the sound alongside some pretty ferocious drums and guitar work. There’s an almost thrash tempo to it that is softened by some prominent synths before an altered vocal is brought in. This is a very powerful song with some serious drive to it, thanks to Craig Blundell’s hearty drum patterns.

This is the suddenly interrupted by a brief xylophone break, which is very different, and then the main riff crashes back in again before a child’s voice says ‘goodnight’, leading into Clouda, which opens with gentle keyboard effects and a sole vocal. The song then morphs into an electronic dance sounding track interspersed with more keyboard effects among pounding drum patterns, keyboard effects and samples. An acoustic guitar lightens the tone, rendering some gentleness to the song before reverting to the harder format again.

This song is very atmospheric,the middle section is dreamy in tone with lots of effects surrounding the music, although I must confess that I don’t know what he is singing about! It is certainly effective though as, once again, this sound hurtles along with barely a breath. The music is very interesting and effective before another gentle dreamlike section towards the end, sounding like something out of a fairy tale, brings it to a close.

Exhibit A opens with a guitar and some chant type vocals that fade to sampled keyboard sounds. Again, it is very dance driven and sounds almost like an African rhythm before a huge guitar riff and drums crash in. More treated vocals are employed before the choral chant is introduced with more keyboards and programming, “We won, we own you…” is repeated to great effect before a brief keyboard riff and then onto verse 2! Telling us again that we are owned and will do as we are told. There is a middle section of some spaciness and then the guitar solo and drums play their parts along with a wild synth solo. It is all very effective asthe chorus plays out, with a female vocal this time, and more keyboards/samples bring the song to a fine conclusion as a strong spoken male voice riffs over then end of the song. The track is all about the downside of fame and how it’s not always what you thought it would be and how it can be a prison of your own making.

Fathom is a song about a wife who goes to war with her husband rather than him leaving her on her own. The piece has a military feel and beat to it and it certainly tells a different story. This is a very emotional song talking, as it does ,about the reality of war and the lengths this wife went to be with the one she loves. There’s sounds that are reminiscent of ELO in the Synths and there is also much tenderness to it too, in the emotions it expresses. Next up is Eat, which is very vocally effected and manipulated to good effect, the clever effects really adding emphasis and emotion to the song again, most impressive. The song is actually about a blood sucking insect and its view of a victim!!

The final song is called Drown. Again a very languid and dreamy piece with lots of chiming keyboards and samples. Craig’s drumbeat keeps it all in time and holds it together. Quite a simple piece but it is an effective and reflective one to round off a very different style of progressive rock music, the sort that makes you think WTF initially but that gradually grows on you the more your hear it and become acquainted with it.

I have to confess that I know very little about Frost* overall, never having heard their previous albums. That is something I will have to rectify now, I think, as this has certainly impressed me and whetted my appetite for more!

Released 5th June, 2020.

Interview With Ronnie Platts of Kansas – by John Wenlock-Smith

Ronnie Platts of Kansas talks about the band’s latest album ‘The Absence of Presence.’

Ronnie is the current lead vocalist for American rock legends Kansas and had the very difficult job of filling the role vacated by Steve Walsh when he decided to retire from the group where he had been a mainstay of for some 41 years. The band looked for a suitable replacement and they found it in fellow Midwesterner Ronnie, who had previously been in local bands that had opened shows in the Chicago Area for Kansas, after which he was involved with Shooting Star. When Kansas came calling Ronnie was ready to step up into the Big League. Here are his comments on the new album and on being part of the Kansas brand.  

John Wenlock-Smith (JWS) – Good day Ronnie, it is a pleasure to talk with you, how are you doing?

Ronnie Platts (RP) – Hi John, I’m fine thank you, struggling like everyone else at this strange time (this conversation took place as both the UK and the USA are in lockdown battling the Covid 19 pandemic that has affected the world significantly). 

JWS – We are supposed to be getting information this Sunday from the Prime Minister of how they intend to lift the lockdown, so we are all waiting on that announcement really.

RPThings are starting to lighten up here as well, as things are starting to turn around a little.

JWS – I think they have finally started to get a handle on things, I mean it is all about keeping the rate of transmission down and keeping people away from each other

RPYes (laughs) but that is a hard thing for social animals!

JWS – Very much so, I mean we have been at home here for 6 weeks now and we have only been out once to the local town which is a couple of miles away.

RPOh my goodness.

JWS – Yes it has been quite hard going at times but, as the weather has been good, we have been able to do some work in the garden, which has been nice.

RPThat is exactly what I am doing as well, planting my garden.

JWS – Right let us talk about Kansas for a bit if I may, you have a new album out in July?

RPYes that is right, have you heard it yet?

JWS – Yes I have and I am thoroughly enjoying it too, tell me how much of this one did you write this time?

RPI wrote two songs, Never, which is from a title from Phil Ehart, and Circus of Illusion, but we shared writing responsibilities with Tom Breslin and Phil came up with ideas for song titles for folks to write around. The first one being Throwing Mountains, which is pretty epic for Kansas don’t you think?

JWS – Yes, it is a great song and the video is great too.

RPI think we wanted to give the fans an insight into the working behind the band and show that we are not so serious all the time. Actually, we spend lots of our time laughing and fooling around joking. In this business I think you have to really.

JWS – I am glad to hear that Phil is throwing out titles for songs.

RPWell Phil is the boss, he’s the guy that has kept the ball rolling all these years and he is very excited by the recent success that we’ve been experiencing with this line up, we’ve been doing very well. I know from my time in the band that our audience has been growing and we’re seeing our fans bringing not only their children but also their grandchildren and the shows are getting bigger. The members might have changed but the title has not and neither has the intent or the quality of the music.

JWS – You’re obviously still hungry?

RPWell I think you must credit Phil and Rich for that as they have been in the band for 47 years now. One of the things that surprised us was how much of (previous album) ‘The Prelude Implicit’ was sold on vinyl.

JWS – Well I think vinyl has had a resurgence as people like the artwork, the sleeves and the inserts.

RPAt my age you need a microscope to read the sleeve notes which is why vinyl is a great thing. You get so many bands that used to print the lyrics and all that stuff was especially important.

JWS – Are you looking forward to taking the album on the road?

RPJohn, I cannot express enough just how excited I am to come to England and Europe and for folks to be able to see us play for them!

JWS – It’s been quite a journey for you really?

RPYes I’ve always been in bands when I wasn’t out driving my truck. All that paved the way for me to join Kansas, I’m nearly 60 now and it seems like days rather than 5 years. If we had been able to continue, I’d be nearing my 500th show now, in the first year we did 98 shows (2016) and the next we did 99! Way more than expected and a pretty full schedule. We’ve to Brazil and Chile so I’m really excited to be coming over to you.

JWS – So what did you carry on your truck?

RPCorrugated packaging.

JWS – I used to work for Bentley and everything came in that sort of packaging, we had a lot of cardboard!

RPOh, Bentley the car manufacturer? Getting back to the album anything that stands out for you from what you have heard?  

JWS Throwing Mountains and The Absence of Presence both stand out but, really, I am still in the listening and absorbing stage.

RPI might be biased because I’ve been so involved with this album as we’ve had more time to come together as a band and gel together but, I think that when people get to hear this for themselves, that they may be very impressed with all they hear from the band now.

JWS – I first heard Kansas on the Old Grew Whistle Test playing ‘Journey from Mariabronn’ and then I heard ‘Point of Know Return’ and I worked backwards from there.

RPFor me it was a similar experience except it was ‘Leftoverture’ then I worked backwards too, I guess we are of a similar age?

JWS – I am 60 now…

RPYou have a couple of years on me as I am 58 now.

JWS – Well Ronnie, sadly my time has gone so it remains for me to thank you for your time, stay safe and hopefully I will see you at the palladium in November once all this is over?

RPThanks to you too John, stay safe too and yes, hopefully I will see you there too. Thank You!

‘The Absence of Presence’ will be released on July 17th, 2020.

DEREK SHERINIAN – announces new solo album ‘The Phoenix’ for release via InsideOutMusic

World acclaimed keyboardist Derek Sherinian, (Sons of Apollo, Black Country Communion), one of the most significant keyboard players of the modern era, has signed to InsideOutMusic for the release of his new solo album ‘The Phoenix’ on the 18th September 2020, his first since 2011’s ‘Oceana’. Derek comments: “I truly feel that this is my best solo record to date. Simon and I put a lot of energy into the writing, and I am grateful to all of the great players that contributed to this recording.”

Once again, Sherinian has teamed up with drummer extraordinaire Simon Phillips, who not only plays drums but also co-produced and co-wrote the album: “It is always an amazing experience to be able to work with Simon. He’s been a hero of mine for ages, ever since I heard him playing on albums with Jeff Beck and Michael Schenker.  And he is such an invaluable part of the way this new record has come out.” 

There are a number of top line guests featured on ‘The Phoenix’, as has been the case in the past for Sherinian, on both guitar and bass. Some have become regular contributors to his solo sessions. People such as bassists Tony Franklin (“He’s been on all my albums to date”), Jimmy Johnson and Billy Sheehan (Sherinian’s bandmate in Sons Of Apollo). Plus guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Zakk Wylde. In addition, others are welcomed into the fold for the first time. For instance, there’s master guitarist Steve Vai. “Steve Vai has always been on my hit list. But it was when I played keyboards on the Generation Axe tour of Asia in 2017 that I asked him to play on my record, which he gladly accepted” Also present are Sons Of Apollo bandmate Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Sons Of Apollo) and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth).

“Kiko and I have known one another for about 20 years. But this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play with him.” 

The album features 8 tracks, including a cover of Buddy Miles ‘Them Changes’, and will be released as a Limited Edition Digipak CD, 180g LP + CD & as Digital Album. Find the full track-listing below:

1.     The Phoenix

2.     Empyrean Sky

3.    Clouds of Ganymede

4.     Dragonfly

5.     Temple of Helios

6.     Them Changes

7.     Octopus Pedigree

8.     Pesadelo

Derek Sherinian’s far ranging talents have been much in evidence through the music of Alice Cooper (who once called him “The Caligula of keyboards”), Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and current band Sons Of Apollo. Moreover, proving just how much he is demand to work with rock royalty, Sherinian has also toured and recorded extensively with KISS, and Billy Idol, proving his classic and hard rock pedigree, whilst also being voted #9 in Prog Magazines greatest keyboardists of all time.

LONELY ROBOT – releases new video/single ‘Spiders’

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), are set to release their fourth album ‘Feelings Are Good’ on the 17th July 2020. Now, a second track from this record has been released featuring an impressive video by Miles Skarin of Crystal Spotlight: 

John Mitchell has the following to say about this song: “’Spiders’ is a song about a woman, nay wolf in sheep’s clothing, who chose a path of greed and wretchedness and exploited her position of trust at a time of weakness when she COULD have done the exact opposite. Long since gone but never forgotten for all the wrong reasons.”

‘Feelings Are Good’ marks sort of a fresh start following the conclusion of the ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’ as John explains: “‘Feelings Are Good’ is a bit of a departure from the first three Lonely Robot albums. On ‘Feelings Are Good’, I wanted to explore more personal themes and the songs are very much about individual experiences and narratives that I believe had been the cornerstones, good and bad, to my life. The long tall and short of it is that we’re back on planet Earth, and I have a personal lyrical axe to grind!” 

‘Feelings Are Good’ is now available for pre-order and will be released as a Limited Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+CD and as Digital Album in both 16 & 24 bit versions (all including 2 bonus tracks). Pre-order the album from a variety of partners here: https://lonelyrobot.lnk.to/Feelingsaregood

Lonely Robot will hit the road in December 2020 for some select headline dates, and you can find a list of those below:

Dec 13th  Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

Dec 16th  Riff, Bochum, GER

Dec 17th  Das Rind, Rüsselsheim, GER

Dec 18th  Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, NL

Dec 20th  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL

John Mitchell is a man with a rich musical heritage and history – from musician and vocalist, to songwriter and producer. With bands like Arena, Frost*, Kino, It Bites and Lonely Robot, to name but a few, Mitchell has left his mark on the current progressive rock scene and has been involved in dozens of recordings. He is also a respected producer & mixer, running Outhouse Studios in the UK and working with artists as diverse as You Me At Six, Enter Shikari, Alter Bridge, Asia, Don Broco, Funeral For A Friend, McFly & much more. 

Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly launch video for ‘Happy Somewhere In Between’ / first single from ‘Alone Together’

Swedish multi-instrumentalist Rikard Sjöblom recently announced his new album under the Gungfly moniker, ‘Alone Together’. Set for release on the 4th September 2020, it followsan  extremely productive past few years, whether it be working with English progressive rockers Big Big Train, or taking the lead with Gungfly. 

Today sees the launch of the first single ‘Happy Somewhere In Between’ and you can watch the video here:

Rikard comments: “I wanted to write an upbeat prog-rocker about a subject I was reading about, and got intrigued by: the dynamics in a relationship – how one person can be needy and the other one avoidant. These personality traits sometimes attract each other but then things get problematic when one needs a lot of attention and the other one tends to feel trapped by it. It’s also about mixing things up in general and pretty much a fun song about serious stuff.”

‘Alone Together’ will be available as a Limited CD Digipak (with 2 bonus tracks), Gatefold LP + CD & as Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://RikardSjoeblomsGungfly.lnk.to/AloneTogether

Rikard comments: “I started writing these songs about a year ago but then it took some time to get started with the production because I had two tours lined up, one with Big Big Train in November and then opening solo for The Flower Kings on their European tour in December. After that my focus shifted back to Gungfly and it felt really nice so it all came together pretty fast!”

‘Alone Together’ saw Gungfly recording as a trio, with brothers and previous collaborators Petter and Rasmus Diamant on drums and bass respectively. “It was a lot of fun playing both keyboards and guitar because I had come up with a lot of nice parts but I knew early on that I wanted to make the album with the brothers on drums and bass – luckily they were very up for it!” This ‘power-trio’ have focussed on the rock this time, and you can hear that loud and clear: “I didn’t want to smother the production with layers upon layers of keyboards and bells and whistles but instead tried to keep it prog rock with the focus on ROCK. I wanted every instrument to mean something in the mix.” This is evident on tracks like ‘Happy Somewhere In Between’ and the 13-minute epic ‘Traveler’, where Gungfly have never hit harder.

The album cover features a painting by American artist Kevin Sloan (The Flower Kings). Rikard comments of the piece: “I had just written lyrics for the song ‘From Afar’ and was looking at Kevin’s paintings when I came across this one and I couldn’t believe the connection, particularly the lyric “A million eyes watching glimpses of each other’s lives””.

The full track-listing for the album is as follows:

1.     Traveler

2.     Happy Somewhere In Between

3.     Clean as a Whistle

4.     Alone Together

5.     From Afar

6.     On The Shoulders Of Giants

7.     Grove Thoughts (Bonus Track)

8.     Shoulder Variations (Bonus Track)

The bandwill come to the UK for 3 select live dates in October 2021. The band will play London & Manchester, co-headlining alongside the Robin Armstrong-led Cosmograf, before continuing on to Summer’s End Festival.

The dates are as follows and are on sale now:

Friday 1st October – Dingwalls, London

Saturday 2nd October – Academy 3, Manchester

Sunday 3rd October – Summer’s End Festival, Chepstow

Rikard Sjöblom is perhaps best known as the multi-instrumentalist frontman of Beardfish, who established themselves as one of the most consistently brilliant modern-day progressive rock bands over the course of eight studio albums. In recent years, he has also become known for his work with English progressive collective Big Big Train, playing live with them as well as performing on their recent studio albums.

Pain of Salvation – Launch first single/video for opening track “ACCELERATOR” from new album “PANTHER”

Album pre-order starting today!

Firmly at the forefront of the progressive rock and metal scenes for nearly three decades now and one of modern rock’s most acclaimed live acts, Sweden’s Pain of Salvation return with a new studio album entitled “PANTHER”, due out August 28th, 2020 worldwide via InsideOutMusic. 

A first single and video (Directed by Lars Ardarve) off “PANTHER” is being debuted today. 
Check out the album’s opening track “ACCELERATOR” here:

Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlöw checked in with the following comment about the song/video:

It has been brilliant to work with Lars for a video, after all these years of photographing. We think alike and always have a blast when we work together. We had three very long days of shooting it, only Lars and us in the band in Skjulstahallen, a large gymnastics hall kindly provided by IKEG. As per usual, I found myself in weird situations, like making high flips and jumps over Lars’ head. We are very happy with this video and think it’s the perfect kickoff for the PANTHER album. 

“PANTHER”, the follow-up release to 2017’s “In The Passing Light Of Day” album, was recorded, mixed and produced by Daniel Gildenlöw with Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend) and comes with a comprehensive artwork-theme with illustrations made by André Meister. 

Pain of Salvation – “PANTHER”:
Track-listing:

1. ACCELERATOR

2. UNFUTURE

3. RESTLESS BOY

4. WAIT

5. KEEN TO A FAULT

6. FUR

7. PANTHER

8. SPECIES

9. ICON 

Next to the standard CD and the Digital Album formats, ”PANTHER” will also be available as limited 2CD Mediabook (Including expanded artwork and the following 4 bonus tracks on a separate disc: “PANTHER (demo)”, “KEEN TO A FAULT (demo)”, “FIFI GRUFFI” and “UNFOREVER”) and as 180g. Gatefold 2LP (Including the 4 bonus tracks on Side D and album on CD as bonus), in the following variations:

Black vinyl – Unlimited

Deep blood red vinyl – 100x copies from IOM Webshop Europe
Transparent blue vinyl – 300x copies from CM Distro
Transparent green vinyl – 200x copies from EMP

Lilac vinyl – 200x copies from JPC

White vinyl – 200x copies from Pain of Salvation

Transparent yellow vinyl – 100x copies from Pain of Salvation 

The pre-order for “PANTHER” in its various formats is started today here:

https://PainofSalvation.lnk.to/Panther

“PANTHER” album trailer: https://youtu.be/njgmgECkFBw

Look out for more news about Pain of Salvation and “PANTHER” soon…Pain of Salvation line-up:
Daniel Gildenlöw – lead vocals and lots of stuffJohan Hallgren – guitar and vocalsLéo Margarit – drums and vocalsDaniel Karlsson – keyboards, guitars and vocalsGustaf Hielm – bass and vocals 

Pain of Salvation discography:

Entropia –1997

One Hour by the Concrete Lake – 1998

The Perfect Element, Part I – 2000

Remedy Lane – 2002

12:5 – 2004

BE – 2004

BE DVD – 2005

Scarsick – 2007

Ending Themes DVD – 2009

Linoleum EP – 2009

Road Salt One – 2010

Road Salt Two – 2011

Falling Home – 2014

Remedy Lane Re:visited (Re:mixed & Re:lived) – 2016

In the Passing Light of Day – 2017

PANTHER – 2020